I had the honor of being asked to participate in a virtual book tour for Getting to 50/50: How Working Parents Can Have It All, by Joanna Meers and Sharon Strober. This book is all about trying to help working mothers make decisions to improve their effectiveness at work and at home. So, I was excited when I was asked to participate in this tour. The premise of the book is that if women can equally divide household duties they can remain employed full-time, raise their children and achieve happiness.
Marry the Right Man, Have the Right Life
There is a foreword by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg that reads, “We have a long way to go before we achieve equality. 50/50 is not just the fair thing to do, but the better thing to do for a family.”
In many ways Getting to 50/50 reiterates some similar themes from Sandberg’s “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead”. One of which is true partnership in the home is essential or as I like to phrase it, “marry the right man and you will have the right life.” Neither book really offers much to women if they are unlucky and fail to have a true partnership at home. Perhaps they are destined to fail? I guess that answer is in someone else's book.
Dividing Household Duties 50/50 is the Key to "Having it All"
I agree with the excerpt below, which says that success does not require a 24/7 commitment to your job. Nobody can be perfect all of the time. So, it’s encouraging to know that Meers and Strober are not asking us to try to be perfect.
Instead, they are simply asking us to commit to working and parenting. They believe that working mothers can achieve success if they stay in the workforce and wives and husbands divide household duties 50/50. So, instead of judging women and asking us to do more, they are asking men to step up, big.
They don't say that getting to 50/50 will be easy. Instead they argue that it is worth it because it will benefit our work, our marriages and our children. They base this argument on their own experiences as well as their research.
In my experience, working and parenting is hard, damn hard. It is a journey full of winding roads and compromises. It's especially challenging when your children are very young. I believe that the decisions that mothers make during those years are different than those made when their children are older. "Getting to 50/50" is a laudable goal, but it's challenging and it takes time. I am curious about what working mothers are supposed to do before they get there.
Below is an excerpt from the book. This chapter encourages women to work smarter and not longer. I recommend it for any mom who is trying to “have it all” without losing her mind.